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Xbox Live Indie Gems: Solve It - Pack 1

Crowded as it is with farting massage simulators, it can be hard to find worthwhile titles on Xbox Live Indie Games. That's why we sift through all that rough to unearth a few gems. That way, you get the skinny on quality games and we get to indulge our secret passion for fart machines. This week, we take a logical journey through Solve It - Pack 1 from Marklund Games.

Like most well-made puzzle games, Solve It - Pack 1 is deceptively simple. Solve It takes its cue from other logic puzzlers out there, tasking the player with the simple goal of reaching an exit. Simply guide the strange little avatar over happy, brightly colored obstacles and reach the goal. It really couldn't be simpler. There's a catch, of course, being that you have to figure out how to reach the exit before your avatar takes a single step.

Solve It appears to be a simple platformer, though players actually have no direct control over the game's funny-looking avatar. Instead, Solve It requires players to "program" instructions for the avatar to follow. A simple example: The goal is three squares in front of your avatar. In order to reach the goal, he has to take three steps forward, which requires three separate forward inputs to be placed in the instruction grid on the right side of the screen. Once programmed, simply start the sequence and watch the avatar carry out his instructions.

It's very simple at first, programing the avatar to move forward, turn right, move forward, jump, et cetera. Things get very complicated very quickly, however, with new mechanics added in later levels. One such mechanic allows players to program a set of four consecutive actions into either the left or right bumper buttons. While this function is convenient for repeating certain sets of instructions, it's also essential in later levels because it condenses four instructions into a single step. As players have a limited number of steps at their disposal, use of instruction sets is often required to reach the exit before running out.

Still, it's easy to think that Solve It is as simple as looking at the path and coming up with the proper steps, but it's a lot more difficult than it sounds. As an example, look at the image above. Now try to figure out how to get from the yellow square to the green star in twelve steps or less. Keep in mind that a turning left or right counts as a step. Oh, and the gooey green blocks are deadly. So yeah, not quite as easy as it sounds.

As creator Jocce Marklund puts it, the hard part is that players essentially have to plot out all the moves in their own mind "instead of reacting to the things happening on the screen." He adds that this mental exercise can make long play sessions "pretty exhausting." Having played Solve It quite a bit, I'm inclined to agree.

Want to try out Solve It - Pack 1? You can queue the trial version for download here on! The full version is 80 MS Points ($1). If you've discovered (or created) an outstanding Xbox Live Indie Game and think it deserves some more visibility, email Richard aat joystiq dawt com, subject line "Xbox Live Indie Gems." Want to find more indie gems? Check out the archive.